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Depression and Alcoholism: Why the Link?

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Depression and alcoholism have a strong link to each other, particularly in women. Scientific studies show that women who are binge drinkers have higher rates of depression than men do. However, drinking does not necessarily lead to depression; it can be a symptom or a method of self-medication. A cycle can quickly develop, forging a bond between a woman’s drinking and her depression.

Explaining the Link Between Depression and Alcoholism


Depression and alcoholism feed off of each other. Feelings of depression can be overwhelming and very hard to handle. Many women turn to alcohol to create a ‘high’ that numbs these feelings or allows them to forget for a while. The problem worsens because increased rates of alcohol consumption can intensify symptoms of depression. This creates a circle of dangerous behaviors that can plunge a woman farther into depression, not away from it. Women also seem to turn to alcohol as a form of release from depression and anxiety, whereas men are more likely to drink to feel good.

Dual Diagnosis

A woman who is living with depression and alcoholism at the same time is said to have a dual diagnosis. Many of these women will not seek treatment; many of those who do will only receive treatment for one of the ailments, not both. The key to successful dual diagnosis treatment is to address both problems, not one after the other. Without the appropriate method of treatment, the connection between depression and alcoholism is likely to grow. Gender-specific dual diagnosis treatment may be ideal for a woman dealing with these co-occurring disorders.

See also  Dual Diagnosis Programs are Better for Women

Suspected Triggers

Medical professionals do not yet know the full spectrum of contributing factors that link depression and alcoholism. Suspected triggers include genetics, gender, and lifestyle factors. A woman who grew up in a household where alcohol was abused is more likely to abuse alcohol herself. Children who were exposed to abuse and poverty are also considered more likely to develop depression and alcoholism. Genetics do appear to play a role in depression but the degree of impact is unknown.

Possible Solutions

Treatment can help. Treatment for depression and alcoholism may contain a combination of counseling, group therapy, and possibly doctor-prescribed medications such as antidepressants. Individual circumstances will determine the most effective course of treatment. Both depression and alcoholism are very real problems that deserve attention, and the sooner treatment is underway the more successful it may ultimately be.

If you or a woman you love is having problems with drug abuse, alcohol dependency, depression or addiction, drug rehab for women may be the answer.  Remember that recovery from addiction and alcohol abuse treatment means learning how to cope with intensely emotional situations, and identifying when you need help and support.  Treatment for addiction relapse, counseling, and aftercare can help you do this, so please call us today.  Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service addiction and women’s health treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.

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